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tv   Government Access Programming  SFGTV  April 14, 2019 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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>> clerk: i'll do roll call. [roll call] >> clerk: agenda item number two, public comment on items appearing or not appearing on the agenda.
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>> thank you, ethics commissioners. my name is ellen lee zhou. i am a public servant for more than 20 years. i am an seiu bargaining team member for employees. our union has more than 52% of the public employees. i am also the director of public relations for the california civic grand jury association, the san francisco chapter. as a public employee, i am trained to practice good government conducts. i am here as a resident of san francisco for the last 30 years. i have been coming to ethics commission many, many times, during 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019,
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and today. i come before you, ethics commission and ask you to restore law and order. ethics commission was setup to find corruptions in the government. the last time i was here talking to you, it was march 15, 2019. i reported to you we have a lot of possible corruptions within the electoral officers who purposely created laws that welcome criminals and drugs and drug dealers. for example, we have 25,000 drug abusers and users and sellers in san francisco streets. in the last two years, we have more than 400 homeless people die on the streets because we have the laws that created purposely by the elected officers, and we waste a lot of public dollars, we waste a lot of human lives, and we also
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provide free needles, 6 million a year. we only able to collect back about 2 millions, which means more than half of the needles are floating on san francisco streets. it is illegal, but our government has been doing so freely illegal drugs. so i am here today and ask you to investigate super pacs that has been bought and paid by a few elites election after election and contaminate our good government practice. today, i'm here to request the ethics commissioners to enforce the laws to protect our government, to protect our san francisco, and make san francisco safe and clean. and also, because we have so many people opposed to illegal drugs and site injection for drugs and supporting the drug
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dealers. it's about time for you to step up. because of the time, i'm not able to finish all my comments in here, so i'm going to give this to you as public record. >> chair chiu: okay. thank you. >> thank you. >> chair chiu: any other public comment for agenda item number two? okay. agenda item number two, approval of draft minutes for ethics commission's march 15, 2019 meeting. so we have a motion and a second. all in favor? okay. a unanimous approval. agenda item number four, informational presentation and discussion of agenda item number four, public finances review project, phase two, public findings and
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recommendations. >> good afternoon, commissioners. pat ford who would normally be here to present, wasn't able to be here because of switch of dates. i would like to thank brian cox and tyler fields that are here today to present to you information and to recap the report. this report and the information it contains are designed to bring forward items that strengthen the public financing program that candidates for mayor and board of supervisors are able to participate in. just as a quick recap for those who might be joining the discussion at this point, following the issues on sfgov tv or through later observation, the public financing program we have here
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in the city have a number of aims that it was created to establish. and part of the challenge for the city is to continually make sure those policy goals are balanced through the mechanics and the procedures that the program establishes. some of goals that the program requires is to -- is to support is to reduce time that candidates have to spend fund raising or believe that they have to spend fund raising and really encourage them to spend more time communicating with voters on issues that matter. also, it encourages more or it's designed to encourage greater opportunities for candidates, including those with less means or modest means or those who don't wish to spend their greater means running for office and so candidates can one more pet -- run for competitive campaigns. also, by allows candidates funding to be leveraged with
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smaller funding, it's reducing real or perceived corruption that can become or be attributed from contributions that come from private individuals -- private contributions and instead having a source of funds that really is died only to the -- tied only to the taxpayers or more neutral interest. so as you've heard in the earlier phases of our campaign finance review, we have been looking at the program on the number fronts to try and assess its effectiveness and strengthen its effectiveness going forward. as you know, it's a voluntary program for candidates, so it needs to be an attractive program for them to participate. assessing that, ensuring that it's attractive can be tricky. the city laws have changed in this area frequently since the law was first established in 2000. the good thing is th-- it can
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tricky to assess, but it is very important to us to bring forward to you the best information we have that is based on current data and try to assess from that data what it tells us and about and suggests about improvements that could be made. so in -- with the eye towards being as objective and clear-eyed as possible, we really want to try and see what are the dynamics that are at play in most recent elections, question and assess whether there are provisions that have outlived their usefulness, even if they may have been helpful at one point. really, this is a tune-up, not an overhaul, but we wanted to bring forth our recommendations substantively. we wants to bring the recommendations forward -- we
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wants to bring the recommendations forward, get a sense of what you would like at the next meeting written out for discussion. we want to engage as much public comment as possible if there are individuals who want to do that present at this meeting, and we look forward next month bringing to you a package that strengthens the system so we can really have better participation rates, one goal, more voters engaging, and a stronger program thfor funds that voters in san francisco have set aside. how we approach this process, phase one was to look at administrative changes coming out of the 2010 election. it resulted in approved regulations. a review of the administration of qualification and matching funds claims also improved guidance material. what we learned from this last election to help improve
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information for candidates and those who are supporting candidates, internal investigation to strengthen the program administron passed and is at the rules committee at the board of supervisors presently and just as a quick update on that, we did hear just today that it looks like the ordinance will be scheduled -- and even we heard it was going to be may 6, but it's going to be moved up to an earlier time frame. that's encouraging. this one, phase two, is looking at the more substantive features of the program. item four is a report, a comprehensive report that our policy team, supported by our information systems team put together assessing information and data and research some other agencies to see what kind of leasing practices are out there and how agencies are
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dealing with emergency actions in the public arena. we've based that work on a variety of pieces, including interviews with candidates and treasurers, consultants. again, the program needs to be relevant and attractive to candidates. that was one piece of recommendations. that's not the only basis for the recommendations we have here. we also did interested persons meetings on march 4 and 8 and looked at a deep analysis of the campaign finance data and as i mentioned, a review of other jurisdictions. so i just wanted to provide that context and background again for where we are and how we got here today. and as you'll see the report, it provides an overview of the program and then walks through the methodology and specific findings and recommendations. and we have at the very end of the report, which i think i just will walk-through briefly and then open it to questions or further discussion in more
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detailed ways, as you prefer, it's agenda item four, page 18, there's a list of all legislative recommendations that are contained here. i will note, as well, that there is an attachment that we received from the campaign legal center that i think are worth discussing, but they provided a report about campaign financing and public financing at jurisdictions around the country, which i think brian can speak to more if you have some questions about. but in terms of legislative recommendations, they are listed on page 18. the first is to look at public funding and which of the contributions will be matched for purposes of public funding. we are recommending in this
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report that public funding be available for the first $100 from any contributor. currently, it's the first 500 or the full maximum that a contributor can give, and we're proposing to match it at a 6:1 ratio. they then can submit claims for matching funds, and those are matched first at a dollar-for dollar -- excuse me, a 2:1 rate and then moves onto a next tier, dollar-for dollar. we're proposed to have them matched at a 6:1 percentage. when they're initially approved, they receive a grant to help them. that grant, we're proposing to increase from 10,000 to 20 --
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from 20,000 to supervisorial candidates to 60,000, and 100,000 in the mayoral race to 300,000. one of the things that programs have tried to do is to give candidates the resources that they've qualified to receive relatively earlier in a campaign, and being able to increase the match is responsive to the goal of having candidates have that -- qualified candidates have a bit more resources sooner than is currently the case by increasing that initial grant. we also have a proposal to increase the maximum funding that a candidate can receive. there are two alternatives that we've identified. one is alternative one which raises the levels to an amount based on current examples and patterns of fund raising. we looked at if those patterns
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were to continue, how much can a candidate receive and still be in existing campaign parameters. and so those are shown. that will be increasing the maximum for supervisorial candidate to 200,000. the second alternative is a slightly higher amount of money that would be provided. that, however, has some implications assuming some patterns of fund raising and the assumptions about the number of candidates. that could potentially tax the campaign fund in a way that would require additional funds to be allocated for that additional campaign fund, so that's an additional consideration. it's a more generous program in the sense that this gets candidates more resources, but it also increases the potential for greater campaign funds. how would that happen? would it be timely? would it be workable?
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so that's just a few of the things to think about when we discuss that. i'm going to let brian talk about this, but number four is changing the appropriation language, providing greater stability for the funding program as it exists. the next is to increase the initial individual expenditure ceiling to $350,000 for supervisorial candidates and 300,000 for mayoral candidates. in the past, you've heard conversations that candidates have to limit their initial spending as an exchange for receiving public funds, and is there a need given the amount of spending that we've seen by candidates in initial elections to raise the initial limits to which candidates agree? this would provide a higher ceiling for candidates at the outset of their participation. and then, we also looked at the question of whether there is a way to make the public's funds available earlier to candidates
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than is currently the case, and we have a proposal here that would retain the existing time frame that the public funds can't be provided to candidates until the 142nd day before the election. that is the earliest day that public funds can be provided currently. we're taking a slightly different approach that would continue that practice with regard to matching funds, but that we would proposed increased allowing the grant to be distributed to a qualified candidate sooner so that the candidate could receive their grant amount earlier in the election cycle and have sort of seed money, if you will. based on their eligibility and qualification that would be determined at that point in time, but then, they would have to pat until the 142nd day to actually have matching funds distributed, so we're trying to explore again, is there a way to provide candidates to -- funds to candidates a bit earlier in their campaign so it
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encourages competition. and the last that came up, but it has significance. the qualification period that is articulated in the current law is confusing. it's different as to mayoral candidates and supervisorial candidates. one using language -- we're harmonizing the way those two work. we're making it clear that it is by the 70th day before the election that candidates must submit their qualifying papers. the language was inconsistent for mayor and supervisorial candidates. i think i will stop there to see if there are any clarifying comments or questions or brian, i'll see if you want to add anything to what i've said, i'll turn it over to you. >> good afternoon,
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commissioners. i just want to make some clarification comments with respect to what director pelham said. in looking at recommendation number four to amend the election campaign fund appropriation language. so the issue that we might run up against -- >> chair chiu: mr. cox, could you speak closer to the microphone? >> yes, sure. thank you. first time at the microphone. so on page 15 of the form, we note that this is kind of a comprehensive view of what the campaign -- campaigns cost over the election cycle. and as you can see, if you look at the cost over one election cycle, the total cost is $9.75 million. so just doing some
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back-of-the-envelope math, this projection indicates we're going to be a little bit short, okay? and that's using the higher value of $270,000 for the board of supervisors and $1.5 million for the mayor -- mayoral race, so that would be alternative, too, under the proposal. so there were just some concerns that we might -- the fund might -- might -- might over time be depleted. there is a remedy, of course. so we could ask the board of supervisors for additional funding if that were to happen. that's not guaranteed, but there are provisions in the code that allow us to do exactly that. we do recommend -- so on the next page, page 16, that commission approve new language making that additional appropriation part of the fund guaranteed, right? so instead of it being optional, it being fully guaranteed, that way, at least it's a signal that we -- you know, we want to make sure that the program has enough funding,
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and it doesn't run -- there is no shortfall. so the goal is to make sure we never run out of money, that we can't exhaust the fund. so given the current projections, at least for alternative two, that is a possibility. so the -- the appropriation over the -- of the election cycle would be about $9.7 million. >> okay. so it would be about a 50,000 and change? >> yes. that's based on the estimate we have so far. we can't see what it would be looking forward, of course. >> and do you know off the top of your head what percentage of the utilization of the election fund we have tapped into over
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time? i know we haven't exhausted it in any given election cycle, but is it 80%? 40%? >> that is a good question. we have not done that level of analysis. i know there is a surplus historically, but as the program ramps up and as we sort of change the model to distribute potentially more funds, looking back historically might not be the best marker, but certainly, we can look into that. >> chair chiu: this is a very big lever. under the two scenarios, there can be a $50,000 short call under what the two new maximums would be, and we can propose language that would make the appropriation guaranteed as opposed to optional. have we thought about looking at the appropriation per resident amount to begin it? i believe that was 275 per resident, and that was set in
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2008 or '11? >> i think it was, yeah. >> chair chiu: so if we look at inflation, 275 is probably closer to $400. i ran an on-line calculator, and i think it was close to 425? is that something, and thank you look into that? instead of keeping it at 275 per resident, because the fund we're appropriation is larger, would that -- the fund we're appropriating is larger. what rate of the current fund do we have because it's not a great case. we've only ever used 50% or,
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you know, 60%, and then we're asking for more. >> sure. sure. >> chair chiu: okay. thank you. i don't know if commissioners, you have any other questions or if there's any other staff presentation on these? >> commissioner lee: yeah, because i did have a question. so for the 9.7 million currently in the fund, does it include all the rollovers that we have? >> if we have a maximum, the rollover sort of caps, and the funding doesn't exceed the maximum. so i think the maximum is around $7 million currently. i think that number is -- is -- is fairly accurate, so any additional funding wouldn't -- wouldn't top that. >> chair chiu: commissioner
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ambrose? >> commissioner ambrose: i'm not sure if you know this, but i'm curious what the ordinance provides if you were to exceed the appropriation? so without changing the law, what would be the default? >> that's a great question, commissioner ambrose. the -- section 1.154 allows the commission to request additional funding from the board of supervisors. it's not called for, but it's something we can ask them. >> commissioner ambrose: so i guess my question is if we have an understanding or agreement -- that's what i'm trying to understand -- with the respective campaigns that are expecting funding based on the terms of the ordinance, and we run out of money, do we just divide the difference and everybody just gets a little bit less? because of course the board has discretion whether or not to appropriate more funds.
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so i'm just curious what the expectation would be to the campaigns. i don't know if there's language in the ordinance that just says to the extent that funds are available, we'll give you this much money or so on? >> right. i think that's something that staff has discussed in terms of protocols in that case. i'm not sure that we exactly have a clear answer at this point? >> and my understanding is -- i think it was 2012, there was something that provided a percentage hold back for candidates if there was apparently not enough funding to accommodate the draw on all candidates that were participating. so i think that's something we could look at here if whatever level of funding is desired, it could be useful to go back and add in language that says any time there is a number of candidates participating that
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the maximum draw could potentially exceed the balance of the fund for that election, that at some point during the election, there will be a predictable and understood and transparent process by which the executive director of the commission or the commission assesses will there be a sufficient fund to accommodate all to the maximum, and if not, at this point forward, we'll take it and say 60% of the maximum will be available. it might make sense to look at inserting that into this discussion, if i'm understanding your question correctly. >> yeah. i think we all understand we can't engage in deficit spending, so i'm just curious what the default is, so there should be some proviso for that. >> chair chiu: i think it would
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be good, whether or not the amounts are changed, that we
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>> i'm not aware that the separate public financing package that supervisor mar had thought about introducing, what has been introduced. he's moving on the package that the commission sent over as sponsor of that, and that's the one that i mentioned earlier would be likely to be scheduled sooner than may 6. it was originally may 6. >> commissioner ambrose: so that would be addressed in a separate ordinance. these issue are not -- >> that's right. and i'm not familiar with what supervisor mar's office might have been doing. i have been in touch with his staff during this process to
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gather input, but i'm not aware of myself what activities his office might be engaged in otherwise. >> commissioner ambrose: okay. >> i would add, commissioner ambrose, that his office is conducting review of the financial impacts of some of the changes that we're looking at. i think the proposals that they're looking at are somewhat similar, and so they're doing analysis right now. i'm not sure when it's supposed to be completed, but they're trying to figure out how much it would cast over time. >> commissioner ambrose: who did you say is doing the analysis? >> so b.l.a. >> commissioner ambrose: b.l.a.? >> budget and legislative analyst. sorry. >> commissioner ambrose: would it be possible for the commission and commission st -
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>> chair chiu: would it be possible for the commission and commission members to receive a copy of that? i think it would be helpful what we're discussing here. >> of course. >> chair chiu: i have a couple of questions in regards to the recommendations as well as public comment submitted by the campaign legal center. and so one is regarding the $100 amount for the initial contribution that would be matched. so there was some public comments that i received from -- the other day expressing concern about $100 and was looking more to 200. i know, mr. fcox, if you could talk about how you provided at that as the 6:1 ratio. >> certainly. before we arrived at the $100, we decided to do some outreach
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to candidates and their staff to see what are the purposes of the program and what are we really trying to do here. i think talking with the staff -- or talking with the candidates and their staff, we got a real sense that they were interested in empowering contributions, and many said it's real difficult for their constituents and supporters to give $500. that's a theme we heard over and over again, and even 400 and 300, and that there was a significant -- you know, we really want more people to participate, and i think that's one of the goals that we have in this program, as well, is to get more voters involved. i think all the research suggests that if you have people more likely to contribute to campaigns, they're more likely to vote. so we started with that premise of what are we hearing from the candidates and that is kind of universally what they were
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saying is this $100 -- you know, a lot of talk out there is for $200. a range out there -- i'm not sure if one necessarily is mathematically better than the other, but what we've heard is, you know, a lot of contributors do put in that $100, and i think our idea was to really empower that as much as we could, so that was the premise, the starting point of that. and we looked at how that would change as compared to a maximum contribution of $500. and i think in chart -- >> chart three on page seven? >> yeah. as you can see a $500 contribution nets you $1500 total from the program. we felt that in talking with candidates and doing some thinking about the issue, it's
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really difficult for someone with just $100, to feel like their voice can heard, that they can make an impact, and that might be keeping some contributors from the table. so lowering that amount we felt was appropriate to sort of support those smaller contributors. so that was the thinking behind the $100 matchable amount. and then as far as the 6:1, i think there's a general trend in the community public finance arena to provide a high-match amount. i know that new york had a 6:1, and now they're moving to an 8:1, los angeles. that seems to be the cutting edge, and we looked at how that would shift the balance -- not shift the balance, but how that would empower the smaller
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grassroots contributors, and we felt that was a good amount. >> chair chiu: i did some internet research on my own, and i think 6:1 is pretty much the benchmark. berkeley is 6:1. l.a. just went to -- has been at 6:1, but they reduced the amount. mayor is 214, and supervisor is 114. denver is 6:1, and portland is 6:1 at 50. i see we have members of the public. if they could comment, i'd love to hear from them, as well.
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i think the impact you note here in chart three is signatur significant. obviously, $300 is more than $100, but when you look at the matching, the impact of that would be significant if you're counting $500. and even at $200, it's not on here, but a $100 contribution would be $700, right, or matching it 6:1, and then, for a $500, it's 1700, because 1700, you take 200, and it's multiplied by six. the 200 mark is -- it -- it
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kind of disproportionately favors the larger donations. the larger donation, the bigger the impact. and if you look back on chart two, the number of people who can contribute 100 to $199 is only 8%, whereas 73% are contributing lower. their impact is already small from a percentage of the overall contribution chart, but with a larger $200 amount, $100 is still going to be diminished. >> exactly. and that was one of the motivations for new york to alter their system, that they found the specific issue that some donors have a huge impact on campaign public financing, so they wanted to rework that to boost the contributions at
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the lower end. so in looking at this distribution, we found very similar things. >> chair chiu: and just in the chicago mayor's race in 2018, the top eight candidates, only the top 4% gave at $150 or more. bear with me. i have a few more questions. in terms of a funding cap, i like the idea of more money, but as a commission, what is more responsible? alternative to 270 and 1:5, you know, how do we feel about
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that? i think putting more money into public financing, i think, is a good thing, clean money versus dark money is always better. and then, i had a question about the initial spending limits. currently, it's 250 for the board of supervisors and 1.75 for the mayor. and the proposal is to raise it, so it looks like a 40% increase, and it's pretty in line with the -- with the amount of money that's being spent in kind of the average race amounts on page 11, table four. but the mayoral race is the
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cumulative average. can you walk us through a little bit of your thinking in how you got to the 1.7 as opposed, you know, to 1.8 or 1.9? >> so i think it was just a simple calculation of a ratio of six, because we're doing matching to six. that was one factor we looked at, and secondly, looking at how much candidates have spent over time, we felt that number was appropriate given the money that it takes to run a competitive campaign. that is a substantial increase over what candidates have received, and it's an increase over what they have spent, but after hearing back from stakeholders and candidates, you know, we -- we thought that that number was appropriate given what they felt they would need to spend to be successful in those races. >> chair chiu: okay. and then, the second is we've heard in public comment, very
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concerned about moving the date back, forward -- backward, forward, however you want to think about it, from the receipt of the initial grant. everything used to be triggered off of the 142nd day, and now, the proposal is to split the initial grant and put that out as the 200 -- the earliest eligible date would be the 240th day, and there was the concern about zombie candidates, i don't know if you're familiar with that term where people would file to run for office and collect public money, but once they see who entered, they would withdraw but they would receive public funds and not complete the race. >> yeah. i take the complaints quite seriously. i think we heard the public
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complaints differently. if i got this started sooner, i could get my ground game started sooner, i could get my name out there sooner. i think in every race, it has its over inddiosyncrasies. i think it gives candidates the opportunity to run this is platform as they -- their platform as they see fit. we've heard yeah, if i had the money in january for a november election, yeah, that would have been great. we're not talking about giving them access to moppiatching fu this is just the initial grant. yeah, the fear of zombie candidates is real, but given the perspective of people in the race, they say this would help us get our name out there. i think a big issue for
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grassroots candidates might be challenging to do so at the very last moment because they're waiting on public funding is a big hurdle for them. >> chair chiu: i think one of our previous public commenters said that money is like yeast, and so everything can rise from and after that. okay. then -- so i would want to think about that to make sure that candidates are getting the benefit of early money in a timely way, but also not to resurrect some of the problems that with -- with
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verifying addresses and verifying -- >> chair chiu: is it in
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district one? is it in district four? >> yeah. i was talking to a guy the other day who said we had to chase this guy down several times just for one campaign check. if we had some residency requirement, it adds another hurdle, and there are clear policy benefits to doing that, to ensure that you have public support. but we have to balance that against the compliance costs, and is this going to push them out of the race? so we want to make the running for office not as easy as possible not necessarily, but certainly not unnecessarily difficult. in terms of changing the structure, we're focused on changing the maximum amount rather than tinkering with the reason to qualify.
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>> chair chiu: i think it makes sense to tie the candidate back to the district, but it does pose a challenging hurdle as we heard last year on how owners could feel part of the time. i have one last question, and for there to be an opposition candidate. and what c.l.c. was recommending is that there shouldn't need to be an opposition candidate. if someone's running unopposed, why wouldn't they be entitled to access public funds for the campaign, because public money's always better than not public money? >> certainly. and i think that idea is really attractive to make campaigns as clean as possible. i think, you know, again, we're not -- our focus this time around was not necessarily on
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changing the qualifications of the process but rather just on the mechanics of it. i know that certainly, we can look at that as an idea. i would note, though, that because we're -- we have budgetary constraints, that's something to focus on, if we have candidates that are either running opposed or who don't qualify for public financing, how do we model that into our numbers to make sure that we are being responsible to the fund itself? but again, you know, it's something we can certainly look at, but i think that was maybe outside of the scope what we were looking at this time around just the specific round of regulations and the proposals. >> chair chiu: okay. if you can come back, you know, with pat next month with a recommendation, it's not necessarily from a modelling, from a financial standpoint, but just from a policy
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standpoint about eliminating that on $100 or less donors to
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get them started, so it would be great if you can find some san francisco data to show that, because i do think that if we're going to talk about clean government, encouraging folks to get involved with the process, we really need to bring the folks to the -- to the campaigns. i think on the policy standpoint and on paper, it sounds good, because you should represent the people who voted you in, but san francisco's a little bit unique from the other jurisdictions that they
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mentioned because we are facing a gentrification problem in the city. looking in specific at the asian american community, the -- some of the districts where we have a sizeable asian populations do not have representative --
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i have friends who just swear by it. they just love it. and i know that it's not included in the staff recommendation, but i'm glad that you are going to continue to monitor this program and i know that when it first got rolled out, there were some kinks here and there. but they are going to have the second round in june. because i know that there are many of them who started from way back when to work on the legislation and now still working on the community outreach, they would love to chair their perspectives after june, and i would recommend that maybe we could invite them, not -- at least to participate by phone to talk to us, to share with us what happened in june because there was some concern about the public awareness and outreach.
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i'm really eager to hear how they're work on it, because for me, ultimately, the goal is direct control of public finance by the voters. and i think that is such an innovative program that we could continue to learn from them. maybe there could be a hybrid version for san francisco. maybe for the june or august meeting, we can invite them either to participate in the meetings that we have, or if they have the technology, to call in. i know a few of them, they would love to use their own money, they said, come down here to visit san francisco, and while they're here, share their experience. so i hope we can continue to
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leave the seattle voucher program on our front burner so we do not forget because i think the principle of the voter -- the resident controlling their political destiny is really something that i -- i'd like us to really explore. >> right. and i think that now staff is at full capacity, that's one thing we're trying to do is actively monitor processes from some other communities around the country. i think working closely with people in our back yard as well as seating is on our priority list, so absolutely. >> chair chiu: one thing that i would be interested to know, i echo commissioner lee's comments, the concern i have about the voucher model is the high cost of administration. according to a common cause article in 2018, the cost to
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administer the program was 1,136,000, and the cost to administer the voucher, it was 1,140,000. so for every dollar, it cost .91 to implement. i think first or second years, there would be a lot of learnings for that, but i would want to watch this model mature and best understand how can they become more effective in, like, reducing their administrative costs and making sure that of the 3 -- the $2 million that you're spending, you're spending more than 52% on the actual funds that get distributed to candidates. like, how are they going to solve that challenge? because if we have $7 million, i would hate to see 50% go to
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administrative costs. >> yeah. seattle is a ground breaking program, but at the same time, there are issues -- they have to overcome those problems. we're monitoring that, of course, and after the june election we'll definitely see where we are that way. >> chair chiu: i would love to see, in the fullness of time, a -- because right now, all of our city races that receive funding, not only mayor and board of supervisors, but city attorney or school board, and could we do a pilot of something a little more down the road, so definitely keep your eye on that. >> absolutely. >> chair chiu: any other comments or questions before public comment? i would like to call for public comment now on this agenda item. >> good afternoon. john gollinger, speaking for myself. i was pleased to read the
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report and appreciate the staff's good work on this. i know the board of supervisors is looking at the issue, too. my understanding from talking to folks there is they're waiting to see what comes of this meeting today. i think the intent, as is understood, is to move something forward in the next month or two, not to wait longer, so i hope this keeps coming. let me comment on the proposal. i wanted to touch on four areas. first and most important, 100% excited that the commission -- staffing commissioners who spoke seem very bought in on the notion of both raising the matching ratio and lower the amount that's matchable for all the reasons discussed. i think empowering small donors in my experience as an advocate and campaign manager speaks to what was said, that regular people can give 100, 200, 300 maybe, but 500 is a stretch.
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the 6:1 is at least -- new york voters just voted 8:1, so i encourage the commissioners to even consider a higher rate. but 6:1 for sure. i think 6:1 is too low, but for the purpose of the other -- the other problem with the program is that to my knowledge, it has never been the case where candidates have maxed out on the amount of public funds they could get and actually using it. so i see your review and your proposals to not just empower the donor side but help candidates who want to move on a clean money program. you're actually lowering the amount of money available to public financing candidates with that proposal. and i'm going to run out of
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time for any other things, but i hope you -- >> chair chiu: why don't you do the three minutes, and i'm sure we'll have questions, and after we get through public comment, we'll ask you to come back. >> let me just run through this one thing. by lowering the matchable donation to $500 -- i don't have a lot of money, but i've given $500 to candidates. under the current program, it's worth $1500 for one candidate, and under the new program, it's only worth $1100. i would consider that a different purpose of these reforms than empowering small donors and 100% agree lowering. it. 200 is the amount. new york's is 175, and i think
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that's it. shall i leave it at that? >> chair chiu: okay. thank you. >> my name is astor martin. i was a volunteer treasurer for a board of supervisor publicly funded campaign in 2016 and 2018. and i do appreciate the staff recommendations regarding the public finance program. i thought the report was thoughtful and the findings were wonderful, the recommendations. and i am open to the 200. any way, i think the initial grant of public financing and the higher ratio of matching funds of 6:1 up to 100 would give qualifying candidates the resources to run a competitive campaign. the awarding of an